At first glance, today’s Wall Street Journal piece on teachers donating vast sums of money to outside political groups hardly comes as a surprise. Unions in both the public and private sectors are well known for organizing and donating money to favored candidates and political groups.

Yet some of these donations appear to go beyond what would be expected from a union’s lobbying arm. In addition to the expected donations to Democratic politicians and labor groups in which the unions have a clear interest, union money is also going to groups with more of a social agenda, including gay rights activists and other civil-rights organizations.

It’s like it’s all just one big political machine or something. “The Walker reforms in Wisconsin are a direct threat to this powerful machine. That is why they were so strongly resisted. . . . The fight over the future of public sector unions may be the most important political battle in the United States today.”